Doing Our Bit For The Bees

Sometimes sacrifice is, well, it is hooey unless there is some disadvantage to the person doing the sacrificing.

So to say I am sacrificing a neat and tidy lawn for the bees wouldn’t really be right.

There are many species of bees happily bobbing up and down all over the yard here at Mist Cottage, enjoying the organically grown bounty. What do we have on offer? Wild Strawberry blossoms, very popular with the smaller species of bees; Wild Violets, again very popular with the small set; Dandelions, a universal favourite, which is great because there a lot of dandelions in the yard; Blackcurrant blooms, the bush is humming with activity; Primrose, and Lungwort, the first choice of discerning big bumbling bumble bees. A few of the neighbours are horrified, and helpless to prevent our bountiful blooming yard.

We also have a lot of up and coming treats for the bees. In the lawn there will be White Clover, Chickweed, Plantain, Yellow Hawkweed, and the aggressive Bindweed.

In the garden there will be Bleeding Heart, Wild Geranium, Lavender, Echinacea, Wild Rose (fingers crossed, this is a transplant from my Granny’s garden), Day Lilies, Columbine, Ajuga, Lily of the Valley, Peonies, Hosta Lillies, Irises, Lilacs, Scarlet Runner Beans, and Sedum. And the blossoms on the crabapple tree will soon be filling the air with their delicious scent.

The vegetable garden will also sport a few blooms, squash, tomato and peppers. And the rest is yet to be determined.

I can’t figure out if it is a case of great minds think alike at the same time, or exposure to Joan Brennan’s post of Facebook, which was 45 minutes ago, which I don’t remember looking at until just a few minutes ago, after I’d been sitting out on the back porch, looking at all the yellow and violet and white blooms, and writing about them. Scrolling through Facebook posts might just be leaving more information in my brain than I am aware of! She posted a photo of her yard which looks to have Wild Violets, Dandelions, and I think a few Wild Strawberries.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 14 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 13.0°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: S 25 km/h
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive… then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman

Wild Strawberries

I mowed the lawn, most of it anyway, on Saturday. I knew Attila was coming for a visit, and that he would mow it during the few hours he would be spending with me, so I maximized our together time by mowing as much of the lawn as I could manage, which was most of it. We have a double lot here at the little house in the city, so it is like mowing the lawn for two houses. I am putting my knee brace to good use.

While I was mowing I discovered sections of the lawn that had been taken over by wild strawberries, sections the birds had not found. There were lots of little red strawberries. Turning off the lawn mower mid-mow, I knelt in the yard and ate up every last little strawberry I could find. The neighbour across the street found this hilarious.

He called over, “Are you eating your lawn!?!”

Of course I let him know I was eating wild strawberries, but that didn’t stop us from having a good laugh. When Attila saw him later the next day, he was still laughing, and telling the story of his neighbour “eating her lawn.”

After starting up the lawn mower and proceeding with the lawn mowing, a motherlode of wild strawberries appeared where the yard gets partial shade. Again, the lawn mower was switched off. A container was required for this patch of strawberries, and the patch yielded about a cup of wild strawberries, which were later added to a fruit smoothie.

There is a deep ditch between the front yard and the road. It was created two summers ago, when the road was repaved. I cannot mow it, there is no possibility that my arthritic knee can handle walking along, or down, or up, that steep slope. The boulevard, which is the deep ditch in our case, is filled with weeds. Knowing that Attila would mow this area on his visit, the weeds needed to be addressed. Two weeds in particular were troublesome, both designated noxious weeds by OMAFRA. The first, purple loosestrife, was flowering in tall spikes. The second, wild parsnip, was in its early stage, leaves just popping up here and there in the boulevard. Mowing these noxious weeds is not a good idea. They needed to be eliminated.

Some time ago Bex recommended a concoction of vinegar, epsom salts, and Dawn detergent to spray on weeds, to kill them. It was worth a try. Early Saturday morning, spray bottle full of this concoction in hand, I delicately wove my way down the steep slope to the bottom of the ditch. I had my mosquito gear on, thank goodness, because I really stirred them up walking through the deep weeds. The purple loosestrife died almost instantly, turning brown and curling up. The wild parsnip took all day to show any signs of distress, but died before Attila mowed on Sunday afternoon, 24 hours later.

To prevent further infestations of these two noxious weeds, we decided to plant clover as a ground cover in the ditch. It was difficult to find clover seeds, but eventually an agricultural supply company in the nearby countryside was located, and a quick drive secured two kilograms of Dutch White Clover seed. On Sunday, this was sown along the banks of the ditch, and along the property fence line in the back yard. Luckily it rained overnight, so the seed is off to a good start.

I remain vigilant with my spray bottle though, ready to annihilate any purple loosestrife or wild parsnip, or thistle that invades our property.

Attila arrived for a visit late in the evening on Saturday. We enjoyed a leisurely meal, chatted, and retired for a good night’s sleep. Attila needed the rest.

Sunday we thought to work on yard maintenance, so as to “take it easy” during this visit. Ha! The yard work took all day to accomplish. Luckily, Attila finds yard work extremely relaxing, and so he felt rejuvenated. I worked near him for most of the day, removing grass from along the chain link fence, which after having been left to grow for the past five years, was healthy and substantial.

Our garden is looking healthy, with the recent rain. It will be sometime before it yields much produce though. I have been enjoying our rhubarb, the only early offering. Strawberries and asparagus offer early yields, and are on our list of “eventual” garden musts, but need us to be living here full time to make them a practical garden choice.

Attila returned to the country house, slightly refreshed, to face another week of work, and keeping the house “show ready”. Since his employers suspended all weekends off (they used to get two or three between the 1st of May and the 1st of September) he is wearing down, having no significant breaks from his heavy responsibilities, and physical labour, at work. The company has already lost two very good employees due to this new policy, and there are mumblings, they are going to lose more.

Since Attila is planning another overnight visit in two weeks time, the pain of parting was not so intense as he waved goodbye, beginning his five hour drive back to the country house. Perhaps it is that we both feel some kind of change approaching, even if it is only a formulation of a viable Plan B, or C, or D…

Meanwhile, back at the little house in the city, I keep myself busy with my projects, finishing Volume One of my book, doodling with my graphics tablet, paying bills and keeping up with day-to-day administration tasks, sorting through the piles of material left after our renovations, preparing some of it for a trip to the dump, and storing the rest in an organized fashion.

The weather today is hot and humid. I usually go for my walk early in the morning when the weather is this sticky, but I got busy with other things, and started out after 1:30 p.m. I will not forget to get our early again!

While out on my walk today I discovered two young wild parsnip plants in front of someone’s vacant property. What to do?!? I emailed the county office, they have a weed control department, to ask them about it, and will wait for a reply. It needs to be dealt with, or those young plants will thrive, go to seed, and spread all over our neighbourhood. I don’t feel comfortable taking it upon myself to spray in front of someone else’s property, seems a bit aggressive to me. I will wait for advice from the county weed inspector.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

19°C [the shaded thermometer outside my window days 25C]
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 15 June 2015
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dewpoint: 17.9°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: S 17 km/h

Quote

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
Booker T. Washington
1856 – 1915